Social visits, commonly referred to as visits to friends and relatives (VFR), are typically undertaken for relaxation. These visits are often perceived as a subset of recreation, leisure, and holiday activities. A Social visit visa is granted to individuals who want to go on vacation or pay a visit to their loved ones in a foreign nation.
These include visits to a spouse, children, or relatives in another nation. It is a single-entry visa that permits stays up to certain days.
According to the definition provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the motive of the visit is what sets a social visit apart, rather than the type of accommodation utilized. Thus, within the classification by purpose, these social visits are considered a sub-category of leisure trips. This category is composed of various other leisure trips, excluding visits to one’s own holiday home.
Regarding accommodation during such visits, the choice of staying with friends and relatives falls under the category of private non-rental accommodation. This classification shows that the kind of place to stay doesn’t decide the purpose of the visit. Instead, it’s the reason for the trip that determines how the social visa is classified.
No matter the purpose of travel - be it tourism, medical treatment, or acquiring a social visit pass - the duration of the visit is capped at a maximum of 30 days ( in some countries). Overstaying the social visit visas is regarded as a punishable offense. Thus, it’s crucial to adhere to the stipulated duration.
A Social-cultural visa is a category of single-entry visit visa that caters to a range of purposes, including:
If necessary, the duration of social-cultural visas can be extended by applying at the nearest immigration office.
It’s important to note that citizens of some countries may not be required to obtain a social visa for visits up to 30 days. Certain visitors can easily get a visa on arrival, allowing them to stay up to 30 days, with a chance to extend.
Visa applications from citizens of some countries need prior approval or authorization for social visits from the Directorate General of Immigration. Hence, visitors are advised to check with the Embassy of the country they plan to visit whether they will require a social visa.
To apply for a social visa, the visitor must possess a passport with a minimum of six months’ validity from the anticipated date of entry into the foreign nation. Additionally, the passport should contain at least three empty pages reserved for visa-related purposes.
Please note that Emergency Passports/Travel Documents, Certificates of Identity and Registration, and Emergency Passports will not be accepted.
The visa application process requires a filled-out and signed application form. On the social visit visa application form, applicants need to stick to a recent, colored passport-sized photograph.
Applicants must provide a copy of their two-way (ingoing and outgoing) tickets. An invitation letter from an individual, family, or organization in the destination country is also required.
A copy of the sponsor’s identification is necessary, be it from a native or a non-native sponsor. Evidence of sufficient funds for the intended duration of stay, such as a personal bank statement or credit card, is required.
For applicants under 18 years of age, certain additional documents are necessary for social visa application. These include a copy of the birth certificate, certified by an authorized witness.
If the child is traveling without one or both parents, a Statutory Declaration signed by the parents or legal guardians is required. Additionally, a copy of their identification has to be certified by an authorized person.
To summarize, social visits to friends and family are a type of leisure travel. They are distinguished by the purpose of the visit. Accommodation type, such as private non-rental spaces, is secondary to the primary motive of the trip. Hence, social visas allow an applicant to visit their friends and family members in another nation.